“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
While we may see that those with authority have been granted certain responsibilities, we as individual Christians also have responsibilities toward those around us. We are called to compassion for the hurting and to aid those in need, but we must do so in a way that protects the dignity of the person we are helping. Charity should be a way to help a person reach a better situation through partnering with them to give a hand up and not just a hand out. When we find ourselves facing a person or group in need, we must find a way to help them that meets their needs responsibly. We must also not let the circumstances of the person in need cloud our ability to show compassion for them. While there are situations a person may find themselves in that we consider to be sinful, wrong, or otherwise disagreeable, we are still called to aid them compassionately (1 John 3:17). Compassion does not take away the consequences of someone’s actions, but we do not need to treat them harshly in addition to what they may already be facing.
Prayer: Lord, when I find a person in need, help me to find the right way to aid them. Grant me the ability to find the balance I need in order to fulfill your call to charity even when I may disagree with the situation a person finds themselves in. Do not let the circumstances of those in need cause hardness of my heart against them. Help me to find a way to help that is responsible, that promotes dignity, and that is fair to all. While the balance of these ideas may be hard for me to find, I trust in your guidance. Amen.